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Gotcha! politics & fuss over Palin’s Turlock payday

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POSTED July 17, 2010 2:52 a.m.
“Why did they try to keep it a secret for so long, and now release the figure out of nowhere? Our schools are hurting, students are hurting, and to charge that kind of money for a speech I still feel is a bit absurd.” —  Ashli Briggs, a 23-year-old California State University at Stanislaus political science major as quoted by the Associated Press concerning the release of how much Sarah Palin was paid to speak in Turlock.

With all due respect, I do not believe anything Sarah Palin – or any politician for that matter – has to say is worth a $75,000 speaking fee or forking over $500 for a ticket for the privilege of hearing them talk.

That said you’ve got to worry a lot about the next generation of political animals coming out of California’s institutions of higher learning and whether we will ever see sanity restored to state government.

Briggs is one of the students who got a bit worked up about the “audacity” of CSUS President Hamid Shirvani backing up the CSUS Foundation for retaining Palin to provide an anniversary celebration speech to raise money for scholarships. On Friday after the foundation confirmed they paid Palin $75,000 to talk to allow them to net $207,000 – the biggest take ever for an anniversary dinner designed to underwrite scholarships – the Greek chorus of indignation went into overdrive.

There is a legitimate debate about whether what a non-profit foundation does is 100 percent the public’s business. Keeping the speaking fee “secret” for as long as they did really isn’t a high crime although rest assured that some would like to make it that.

It is Briggs’ playing of “Gotcha! Politics” that shows you just how full of themselves some of the detractors of Palin really are.

Briggs contends “Our schools are hurting, students are hurting” so therefore it is absurd and somehow immoral that a non-profit not under government control spends $75,000 for a speech. Really.

Perhaps Briggs might like to ask a taxpayer or two about hurting that are in the process of losing their home while struggling to pay advance state income taxes so the state can underwrite the deficit while keeping his fees subsidized as a CSUS student.

Briggs only has the moral high road on this one if he doesn’t go to concerts, doesn’t have electronic toys such as an IPod and such and instead do what college students did during the Great Depression put every dime they could toward their education.

Of course, it is absurd for one to question how a CSUS student spends their money while they are getting an education that is still highly subsidized despite tuition hikes. That is where “Gotcha! Politics” come into play.

The fact schools and students are hurting has nothing to do with the price of tea in China or what someone is willing to pay a politician like Palin to talk so they can use her to raise $207,000 to underwrite scholarships.

When you play “Gotcha! Politics” you’ve got to tie in something totally disconnected that no one will disagree with such as “our schools are hurting” to make your point appear superior and indisputable.

Briggs is implying that anyone getting paid $75,000 to do anything in the midst of the Great Recession is a sin against mankind and the American way of life.

Thank goodness for those who rely on IPods, I Books, and Windows software that Steve Apple and Bill Gates aren’t embarrassed about making money. Palin – whether you like her or not – has a product which is her interesting strand of politics that people are willing to pay to hear for whatever reason.

If you essentially are criticizing people for paying $500 a ticket to hear Palin when one must assume you’d be happier if they spent that kind of money listening to a politician more aligned with your thinking, then you’ve got to walk the line too.

Yes, students are hurting but are they buying designer clothes, going on ski trips, buying CDs, going to raves and such or are they all shopping at second-hand stores, going without high tech pleasures, and practicing the art of delayed gratification?

It is doubtful.

But that doesn’t matter when you play “Gotcha! Politics.”

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